With eight weeks to go until the annual December shutdown, it is crucial that the current overtime strike by provincial traffic officers is resolved. The strike has spread to three of the six district municipalities in the province (Buffalo City, Sarah Baartman and OR Tambo), meaning there is no or limited law enforcement on the roads in these areas at night.
This province recorded the highest number of road fatalities in the country during the last festive season, an increase of 22 %, from 227 in 2014/15 to 278 in 2015/16. The N2 between East London and Mthatha is rated as one of the deadliest roads in the country.
High visibility and tough law enforcement, 24-hours a day, is vital to curb the high road death toll in the Eastern Cape.
Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana and her department must be held responsible for the current situation whereby the safety of road users are compromised by:
- Provincial traffic officials are working only from 08:00 to 16:00 as they are not being paid overtime;
- Refusal by provincial traffic officers to attend to any road accidents that occur after hours;
- Refusal by provincial traffic officers to hold roadblocks outside of their current working hours; and
- The current travel cap of 2 500 km per month that provincial traffic officers may drive, despite the vast areas they have to cover.
I have written to the MEC for Transport, Weziwe Tikana, today to urge her to address this ongoing strike as a matter of urgency.
I look forward to hear from the MEC on Wednesday, when she will be answering my questions for oral reply during a sitting of the Bhisho Legislature, regarding details of the amounts outstanding for overtime pay for provincial traffic officers and what steps her department plans to take to address this issue.
A DA provincial government would ensure a safe province, with high visibility patrolling, to limit the deaths on our roads.
Marshall von Buchenroder
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